Curry and evils of the world

Hi everyone, CstM here I hope you’re all doing well. I am doing much better than my last post. Thank you all for your kind comments. I really do appreciate all your advice and well wishes.
I’m so sorry for the late post. Life has been busy around here, with the visit of the Welsh mothership. It was a very lovely visit. We had a dinner party, and of course I had to go all out and make two different currys and homemade onion bhajis. At least Leggy got to have a spicy curry for once, so he was happy. I’m a strictly butter chicken girl, anything else can be too spicy or has coconut in it. Dang weird allergies.
Speaking of allergies, something funny happened. Well I thought it was funny. I was oven roasting butternut squash for the curry. For some reason if I handle butternut squash with bare hands, I get a really bad rash, so I wear rubber gloves as protection. The Welsh mothership was in the kitchen watching me prepare the butternut squash, wearing my handy rubber gear and didn’t bat an eyelid. Although I guess it’s more dramatic inside my head. I always feel like some Dr. Frankenstein ready to bring my creation to life. Even if it’s just a curry.

Another thing I’m behind on is the books. I’m about half through the Hunger Games book. I’m genuinely enjoying it, I just keep getting distracted by other things. I must admit I didn’t remember the original books being this brutal. Maybe it’s because I’m older and everyone seems so much younger.
It is an interesting book though. We’re following Coriolanus Snow, as he and his classmates mentor the participants of the games. A game they are trying to make more viewer popular. Now this is a guy who, if you’ve read the original books, will become the personification of all the evil in the Capitol. But hearing his traumatic upbringing in the first rebellion, you do end up feeling sympathy for this young boy, who is just trying to survive and excel.
It does make you wonder, when does bad people turn bad.

The book reminds me in some ways of the film The motorcycle diaries. It’s a film about young Che Guevara travelling through latin America and seeing the poverty and destitution first hand, and ultimately leading him on a path of trying to make a change. Now I don’t condone what he did, but watching that film, you do get a bit of understanding of where he came from. He started out wanting to do good. Does that excuse all the evil he brought into the world? No, in no way. It just makes you understand to some degree where he was coming from.

One book that is a very good read on the topic of evil is The Lucifer Effect by Robert Zimbardo. It looks into the psychological explanation for why even good people sometimes turn evil. It goes over his Stanford prison experiment and also talks about how similar things has occurred in real life like the Abu Ghraib prison.
It is well worth a read, if you’re interested in the topic. I’m still annoyed that someone borrowed my hard back copy of the book and never returned it. Although quite ironic to steal a book about evil.

Now for this month book in the Gloom Dog book club, I went for something short. I figured there isn’t much left of October, so to make it plausible to actually finish it, it needed to be an easy read.
So this month we’ll be reading The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Cade over from Cade F.O.N Apollyon was the one who suggested it. He’s been reading along, and helped start the Gloom Dog Bookclub, so go give him a read, if you have the time. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
I’ve heard very good things about The Pearl, so I’m excited to start reading it. I’ve only read Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, so it’ll be nice to read some more of his works.
I hope you’ll join us on our next reading adventure.

Gloom and books

Hi everyone, CstM here. I hope you’re all doing well.
Sorry for the late post, I have been having a bit of a rough time mentally. Probably the lockdown and everything going on in the world.
So I’m just popping in for a quick spell to tell you the book of the month.

This month I’m hoping to read the new Hunger Games book ”The ballad of songbirds and snakes” by Suzanne Collins. I really liked the Hunger Games trilogy, so I’ve been looking forward to this book.

I’m aiming to come back next month with my thoughts on the Hitler book.

Reading ambitions

Hi everyone, CstM here.
I hope you’re all doing well and haven’t melted away in the heat. We had almost two weeks of really great weather. Of course summer arrived before and after Leggy’s mother had gone back home. That’s how life works I guess. We did have a really lovely time with the Welsh mothership. It was sad to see her go home, but it was also nice to have the house for ourselves again.

Now I almost had to come back here and admit that I once again didn’t actually read the book of the month. I spent way too much time munching ice cream, playing Zelda breath of the wild and dazing in the sun. It was far too hot for cross stitching, so there hasn’t been any progress on that front. But after procrastinating, I finally read the book on the last day of the month. Now I had read it before, years ago, but I’d forgotten how great a book it is.
The characters are well written and I was finding myself getting invested in their development. The characters have their flaws and Carl Mørck, the main character, is battling with PTSD following a job that crippled one of his coworkers and killed another, plus going through a divorce. But it is all really well written. He feels like a real person and you can’t help but root for the cranky sod.
Although hands down my favourite character is his side-kick Assad. Where you know the back story for Carl Mørck, not much has been revealed yet about Assad. He has a wife and daughters, has strange not so legal contacts, can drive a tank and much else isn’t known about him. For me it makes it me much more invested in reading the other books in the series, because I want to know more.
Now this is the first book in so far an 8 book series, so I was thinking of being ambitious in my reading plans and keeping reading one of the Department Q books parallel with the Gloom Dog Book Club book. So there’ll technically be two books a month for the next 7 months. Hopefully you’ll keep following me deeper into the Department Q universe.

Now that brings us to the new book of the month. This month we’ll circle back to political satire/comedy and read “Look who’s back” by Timur Vermes.
I haven’t read this one before and I must admit I don’t know too much about it. It’s about Hitler coming back to life in the present time and how he reacts to life in modern society. It claims to be funny, so we’ll have to see if it can keep that promise.
We’ll also be reading book two in the Department Q series, so Disgrace (UK title) or The Absent One (US title) by Jussi Adler-Olsen. The Danish title is Fasandræberne (The pheasant killers). Side note, am I the only idiot who keeps getting pheasant and peasant mixed up? I’m still surprised NSA or MI5 didn’t show up asking questions, after I accidentally Googled “Can you keep peasants as pets”. Not my greatest moment.

I almost forgot, it is a bit of a special month. Gloom Dog is turning 13 on the 12th, so she’s looking forward to her celebrations. We’re still figuring out what to get her. She got a new bed for Christmas, so we may get her something nice to eat. A cheap cut of steak or some chicken maybe. If the weather holds up she may insist on us taking her to one of the castle parks nearby.

I hope you’ll join me on the reading adventure this month and have an amazing day.

Gloom for the book club

Hi everyone, CstM here. I hope you’re all doing well.
We’re having the Welsh Mothership visiting, so life has been a bit hectic. Especially after almost two years of no sleep over visitors. You do get a bit complacent in your solitude, don’t you?

So last month we were reading The Catcher in the Rye. Honestly, I absolutely hated it. I could just not get on with it and gave up after 4 chapters, which may be a bit unfair towards the book.
Maybe it was just not the right time to read it, or maybe it’s my aversion of first person character books, but yeah I’m happy to see that book gone.
I am a strange one about first person character perspective in books. In school we read this Steen Steensen Blicher story, Late awakening (Sildig opvaagen). It’s told in the first person perspective, about this guy who is in love with a woman, but the plot twist is that for most of the story we only see his version of events, and it turns out he has a very twisted perspective of reality. After that I’ve never trusted a character narrating in first person.
I tried reading Moby Dick, but I read the fist line of “Call me Ishmael” and I was just wondering why I’d spend some 400 pages with a guy who isn’t even upfront about his name. Like can I really trust anything you try to tell me about some whale?

This month I’m going for a Danish book. Now it’s a bit cheeky, since I’ve already read this one before, but it’ll be a nice reread.
We’ll be reading Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Mercy. The first book in the Department Q series. Now I’ve seen it elsewhere as Keeper of lost causes, but there may be a British title and an American title. Just a heads up. The Danish title is Kvinden i buret which means The Woman in the Cage.
Now this is one of my favourite genre of books. I love a good detective novel and tv show.
I hope you’ll have time to join in on the reading.

Long live Snowball

Hi Everyone, CstM here.
I hope you’re all doing well.
So last time in the Gloom Dog Book Club we were reading Animal Farm. Now that was an emotional roller coaster. I didn’t know much about it, besides the famous quote “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”
So I went into it thinking “Oh a book about pigs and farm animals, how bad can it be!”. Holy bejesus, that went dark really fast. The scene were Napoleon went all “Off with their heads” with the chickens. I did not see that coming! Or the part with the puppies, when they kick out snowball. Poor guy!
I really liked Snowball, maybe he just spoke to my Scandinavian mind. So I was getting really angry at Napoleon for how he treated Snowball. Although Squealer was the pig I mostly wanted to punch on the snout. He was just a massive, self serving twat, wasn’t he?
So yeah, I went into the book not really expecting much, but I ended up really enjoying it. I’m pretty happy with having read that.

Now this months book is going to be The Catcher in the Rye. Another book I just know by title but little else. I’m sure it’s been mentioned in crime dramas as a favourite amongst serial killers, but I’m not sure how much truth there is to that. The only thing I could find online, was that it was the book John Lennon’s killer was obsessed with.
So I hope you’ll join in on the reading adventure.

I was talking with David Davis, and I was mentioning how since I grew up in Denmark, I’ve mostly read the Danish and some Scandinavian classics.
Now I have a list of future picks for the Gloom Dog Book club, but I’d mostly gone for English/American literature. I want the book club to be easily accessible to everyone. Books you can just pick up from the library.
But I was wondering, if they’re available in a translated version would you guys be interested in me adding some Scandinavian books into the mix? Please let me know what you think.

We have finally been allowed to go inside people’s houses. It’s a brave new world. We actually get to socialise and not freeze our butts off. We’ve been to see the grandkids, which was really nice. They grow so big, so fast.

We’ve even had a week of pretty decent weather, so Gloom Dog and I have been spending time out in the sun, whilst the guinea pig have been roaming around in his outside enclosure. Even the garden pheasant has been more active, eating the droppings from the bird feeder and screaming the songs of his people. It could also be because I feed him bread scraps.

Reading for the soul

Hi everyone, CstM here.
So can we all agree that lockdown is starting to suck massive balls? I’m here panicking, trying to write a blog post, wondering how to act human, since the only socialisation I’ve had outside family and friends is the occasional visit to the pharmacy.

I’ve taken up bird watching. Or a more fitting description, I’ve started semi stalking the local pheasant and his wife. They come to the garden every day to eat the droppings from the bird feeder. We did have a quite fun sighting of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Well I was there starring into the soul of this poor bird, wondering what the heck kind of bird he was and really, the bird just wanted a bit of privacy so he could eat.

Although it hasn’t all been bad. I’ve started and finished quite a few cross stitching projects and I’ve started a wall of cross stitch.

Well I was talking with Roob and Cade, over from Library of Libraries, and we were talking about how we’d like to read some more. I know I have a big list of books I’d like to read, but I’ve really fallen behind on my reading these past few years.
In an attempt to start reading more and just enjoy books with friends, we came up with the idea of starting a book club.

So I hereby introduce you all to Gloom Dog Book club.
The idea so far is that we’ll read one book a month. I’ll get on here and introduce the book and if you feel like reading along with us, that would be grand.
I have a whole list of upcoming book ideas, but if you have any suggestions feel free to drop it in the comments below.

The first book we’ll read is Animal Farm by George Orwell.

I hope you’ll consider joining us on our reading adventure.
Happy reading!

Extra number

Yes, this will be in bad taste, and I’m sorry if I trigger fellow peeps who’s gone through this, but in times like these where the world seems to be falling apart and people are screaming racism at fake tattoos I find that humour is your best friend. No matter how twisted. What’s it worth if you cannot laugh at it in the end?

So bringing out my competitive nature, Leggy dared me to make a version of White Christmas and here’s the verse I came up with.

So without further ado, White Christmas as song by Bill Cosby

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
One where she’s sleeping on dick
And she won’t remember
Our time together
Which means less in lawsuit fees

Koldskål!

I’ve been trying to radicalize Leggy to the ways of the Danes. This has included teaching him how to say bad words in Danish like “Røv”, “Knep” and more useful stuff like “Øl”. In the food department I started out slow with Danish meatballs (Frikadeller). We then moved up to Grønlangkål with ham and caramelized potatoes. Grønlangkål is kale that has been boiled for a few minutes, then chopped to death and in the end put in a cream heavy white sauce.

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Yesterday we had that one summer day you seem to get in Scotland so my inner Dane came jumping out demanding koldskål. This is a slightly weird Danish dish that is traditionally eaten in the summer. Those warm nights where you don’t feel like playing Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen you can buy a carton of Koldskål, a bag of kammerjunker (a type of small, hard biscuits) and pop it in a bowl and dinner is ready.
Now you may be wondering what the heck is this weird Danish contraption that seems to only show up when it’s warm and has a name that literally means cold bowl? It’s is a cold soup made from buttermilk and other good stuff.

I personally can’t remember a summer at home where we haven’t eaten this stuff at least once. In my quest to tell Leggy about the gloriousness of this this food I wikkied it and apparently in the summer of 2013 Arla sold 3,8 million liters of this stuff. Which is rather impressive when you think about the fact that there’s only about 5,7 million Danes. That’s how popular this is.

Now I somewhat naively figured that since I couldn’t buy the ready made variant here that I’d make it myself. I pulled out my trusty Frøken Jensens kogebog (Miss Jensen’s cookbook a treasure trove of Danish recipes) and thought that looks simple enough. That was until I casually mentioned to Leggy that I’d need to get Ymer at the next shopping trip. Clearly the Scots doesn’t have the same appreciation of the finer nuances of dairy because all I got was a blank look and a “Bless you”. My description of, it’s somewhere between yogurt and A-38 wasn’t much help either. Back to wikki!

Then came challenge number two. The recipe called for pasteurized egg yolks. I cornered an unsuspecting Tesco worker, which these days is getting harder and harder. I suspect I’ve worked up a reputation for being the one who asks for all the weird things they’ve never heard off, much less carry. First was the German nougat and cardamon powder for Christmas biscuits, then potato flour, a non modern can opener and now the pasteurized egg yolk. I could find pasteurized egg whites but no yolks.

In came the lovely RooBeeDoo with a link to a site on how to do it yourself. All you had to do was add lemon juice and water, microwave it and whisk it every once in a while. Sounded simple enough. Of course that went as wrong as it probably could go.

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A call later to the mothership and I was using yogurt instead of ymer and used eggs that I had poured boiling water over in the hopes that I wouldn’t kill Leggy from exploding arse.
So if you want to try it out here’s the recipe

Koldskål

4 pasteurized egg yolks
6 tablespoons of sugar
8 dl Buttermilk
3 dl yogurt
The seeds from one vanilla pod

Whisk the sugar and egg yolk together until fluffy and airy.
Mix in the buttermilk, yogurt and vanilla seeds.
If you want you can even add a bit of lemon zest.
Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Here served with strawberries

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Flying polishes

CstM here for a short interlude.

A friend of mine in the nail polish community has started up an online petition, collecting signatures for the cause of getting the Civil Aviation Authorities to review their flight restrictions on nail polish.

Nail polish has been deemed a hazardous material thus you can’t send it out of the UK using Royal Mail. Inside the UK you can max send 3 polishes in a parcel and you have to get through a lot of faff of putting a huge sticker on it proclaiming that it contains nail polish. This is what she’ll try to get changed or at least get answers to why that is. I for one would be a bit more nervous of my “girl cave” that’s filled with bottles of nail polish, if they can suddenly combust or otherwise kill me.

So if you have the time and feel like supporting this endeavour you can sign the petition Here and you can also read more about the whole thing plus the questions that will be asked of the Civil Aviation Authority.